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Caring for Others

The Character of a man his guardian spirit.

Arun had family from Kerala who had family in Malaysia. These were much older cousins Kerala who had moved there towards the end of the od World War. Their children were his age, rather than he cousins themselves. Over the years, he had travelled on occasions to Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Penang and met st of them. Typical of Indian immigrants, the secondgeneration had done exceedingly well, both educationally and socially. Most were doctors, dentists or lawyers, and even judges.

Visiting a Cousin with Cancer

In early March 2012, we received a call from Malaysia from a nephew of his afflicted with renal cell carcinoma. He was terminally ill, and had the desire to meet with Arun. We had been in touch for two decades and had met him on most of our previous visits. Recently, he had developed recurrent disease and multiple metastases. His health had declined over the last month and now he was having difficulty getting out of bed.

There is something you cannot help but notice about ople who are suffering from a serious illness-their own Tability makes them more caring and compassionate other people. With Arun it was the same. He vulnerability makes about other people greed to visit his nephew. The wishes of the ing should always be fulfilled.

Fifteen days later, we night there was a family relatives came for dinner. enjoyed the attention. It wa days later, we flew into Kuala Lumpur. The first Vas a family reunion, where more than twenty or dinner. It was an honour for Arun and he the attention. It was a proud moment for him to see each generation outskirts of KL condition had dinner the previous the success of his family in Malaysia, with each ge becoming more prosperous than the last.

The next evening we travelled to the outskirts to meet with Arun's ailing nephew. Suresh's conditio not permitted him to attend the family dinner them evening. We got there at six in the evening and chatted Suresh's wife, Shanta, for half an hour. Suresh was nou to be seen and Arun was getting impatient. Another 66 minutes passed when suddenly a door opened and walked Suresh. He was very unstable even with a wall and deathly pale. But it looked like he had a second wind his sails. He had managed to give it his all to walk out and meet us.

He was overwhelmed to see us. Because of you,' he said 'I found the strength to get out of bed. Your coming has made me feel so much better. Apparently he had not left his bed for the last four days. The importance he had placed on our visit was quite touching and he insisted on taking us out for a Chinese meal. Arun felt it was unnecessary, and suggested that we order in. Suresh was too ill to go out, but he would have none of that. He got into his wheelchair and we went out for dinner to his favourite Chinese restaurant, fortunately not far from his home. Where there is a will, there is a way.

It is at times like these that the true character of an individual comes through. Suresh knew it was the end of the road for him and yet he was out to spend quality time with us. This encounter was a humbling experience for Arun and gave him a lot of strength, as he talked about it late during his own illness. I do think it helped him deal wit own situation better. They prayed together before knowing fully well that this was the final farewell. 10 morning Suresh was to get admitted for blood transfusions!

I was concerned that the dinner had left sure exhausted, so I asked him when we were leaving, re leaving, 'I hope you didn'to smiled and sho said, 'I haven's I wouldn't ha 141 didn't overdo it, and will get a good night's sleep.' He Land shook his head. There were tears in his eyes as he haven't enjoyed a good meal like this in a long while. uldn't have sacrificed it for anything.' Content that we done the right thing in coming to meet him, and that he was not too fatigued, we left their home.

We drove to Penang the next day. "Penang' means island of the areca nut palms. The countryside was beautiful and pen. It was a pleasant drive. We crossed one of the longest hridges in Asia to get to the island. George Town, the old colonial part of Penang, is beautifully maintained, with the new modern city developed around it. This is something I have always admired-progress along with the preservation of the old.

Penang is dominated by the Chinese, and is the most prosperous city in Malaysia. It is famous for its street food. We had some outstanding meals on all four days of our stay, never repeating a dish. Penang Hill, the snake temple. Batu Ferrengi, the orangutans--we saw them all like good tourists. We even managed to go to a typical old colonial club for tea in George Town. This brought back many childhood memories. Satiated with the food and having achieved what we had set out to do, we returned to Delhi.

It had been a hectic trip with air travel, longs walks and long drives. Arun had withstood them all and enjoyed them as well. This shows that a strong mind can uplift the spirits and achieve anything. The strength of mind can take over the body. Suresh had also proved this. What was important for Arun's very being-food, travel, friends and family-had propelled him to forget his own troubles, and live life to the fullest!

Within one month of our return, Suresh passed away. Importance of our visit for Suresh, and its impact on un, can never be articulated fully. In many ways, it gave lot of strength to combat his own disease when Arun a lot of strength to the chips were down, to realize that life was too whatever needed to be done could not be delayed Arun continued to ow failing to keep aled an increase to a hormone he would require imeopathy was not

End of the Effectiveness of ADT

Things remained stable till July and Arun cont work. Honvan, the last of the ADTS, was now failing the PSA down and a fresh bone scan revealed an in bony lesions. Arun was progressing to a hor resistant form of the disease. From now on he would chemotherapy. ADT had worked for him for two and a quarter. We also felt that the homeopathy w working, so Arun discontinued it. A week later, he about Tibetan medicine and wanted to try that in addition chemotherapy. He started taking Tibetan medicine and also learned to meditate.

All through this time, we followed a healthy Indian dier (see p. 19 in 'Grappling with the Diagnosis'). Primarily, it was important to meet Arun's nutritional needs, along with providing any natural preventive supplements that could suppress his cancer in whichever way.